After a huge success in its first year, the Wild Buffalo Relay is ready for its second iteration. We reached out to the team at Puakea Designs to see what was is new and changing in 2019. Check out the info below!
News about the Toyota SoCal Wild Buffalo Relay presented by Puakea Designs hit the California paddling community with raised eye-brows and plenty of excitement. But with it came tons of questions about details, logistics and costs. Cali Paddler wanted to get the answers to as many questions as we could. We reached out to folks with what they wanted to know. So Hopefully anyone on the fence is able to get their questions answered below and can join in the fun. Thank you to Maddie Spoto and Kelly Schwartz from Puakea Designs for taking the time to answer everything we could throw their way!
Hi Maddie and Kelly, I know I was personally sad a few years back when the Catalina Winter Series Race was no longer taking place. So when I saw you brought this race out last year, the paddle community was super stoked! Folks new to the race, and those coming for this 2nd year have a ton of questions about what is sounding like a pretty cool race. So let's get started!
What are some Major updates for 2019?
Glad you asked! We have some amazing changes and additions to make this year even better.
- The FINISH of the race will be at the Dunes - finish under the bridge. And after party on the grass, to the right of the bridge. Partners such as Toyota SoCal, Sierra Nevada, lululemon and more will have vendor booths set up! You can purchase after party tickets by reaching out to Kelly.
- There is a SOLO OC1 division, escort boats are still needed for all paddlers. (If there is interest in solo surfski, please reach out to the team, to inquire. They have indicated they are willing to add it if there is interest!)
- We are partnering with Ocean of Hope with putting on a killer raffle to help benefit the sea of people affected by cancer! We are raffling off a silver and white Kahele OC1 Tickets are $10, 6 for $55 or 11 for $100. You can purchase on the online store, or throughout the event weekend. You do not need to be present to win but will need to arrange your own shipping or delivery from Orange County. There will also be more raffle items to buy tickets for at the event.
- Because the race is a week earlier this year, there are more "Catalina Cabins" available if people don't want to camp.
Is it too late to register?
No! In 2019, the registration will close March 1st. We will not be taking any additional registrations during the event (March 29-31st). You can pay online or in person at check-ins Friday and Saturday. We will not have paddler check-in on race day. *If you plan to arrive morning of the race there will be no race check-in. Make sure your partner(s) or another paddler checks in for you prior to race morning. Must be paid prior to race day, no payments will be taken the morning of. Sign up here.
What do I get when I register?
When you register you will receive an email with more info on things like accommodations and escort boats. Included in registration is a jam packed weekend starting Friday, March 29th and ending with race day on Sunday, March 31st, 2019. These 3 days include:
- keynote speakers and clinics with top educators in our community
Maggie and Michelle of Paddle California, April Zilg, John Puakea.
- International panel Saturday afternoon (Tupuria King, Leanne Stanley, Danny Ching and Kriszta Fazekas)
- yoga sessions
- paddler happy hours
- pasta dinner
- race day fees
- race jersey
- swag bag
- and last but not least, a killer after party with food, vendors and music.
Saturday paddler coffee and check-in, Saturday Puakea clinics.
What are all the events you have lined up?
A full weekend of fun, knowledge sharing and relay racing!
Friday, March 29, 2019
*If you want to attend all events on Friday, plan to be in Two Harbors by 11am on Fri. morning.
Yoga, Hiking, Demos, Race Check-In and Paddler Happy Hour (Times and Locations TBD)
Saturday, March 30, 2019
*If you want to attend all the events on Saturday, plan to be in Two Harbors by 8am on Sat. morning.
Yoga, Hiking, Demos, Race Check-In, Demos, Symposium, Safety meeting, Pasta Dinner (Times and Locations TBD)
Sunday, March 31, 2019
*If you plan to arrive morning of the race there will be no race check-in. Make sure your partner(s) or another paddler checks in for you prior to race morning. Must be paid prior to race day, no payments will be taken the morning of.
Race and After Party (Times TBD)Stay up-to-date on all the events:
What craft are allowed?
- Double Ski
- SUP - Stock, 14 & UL
- Prone - Stock, 14 & UL
What categories/divisions are there?
- 2-3 person OC1
- 2-3 person V1
- 2-3 person Surfski
- 4 person OC2
- 4 person Double Ski
- 2-3 person SUP (Stock, 14 & UL)
- 2-3 person Prone (Stock, 14 & UL)
- OC1 Solo
- Rowing Relay
- 19&U (Men, Women, Mixed)
- Open (Men, Women, Mixed)
- Masters (Men, Women. Mixed)
- Senior Masters (Men, Women, Mixed)
(3 teams needed to make a division)
What is the 'accommodations' situation like?
We have been super hands on with the accommodations at Two Harbors. Although accommodation is not included in the race fees, we secured a room block at Banning House Lodge and tent or tent cabin camping at Two Harbors Campground. Camping includes a luggage service which will take your camp gear to your campsite for you. We are also offering a luggage boat at a small additional fee to take your gear over if you need help with that. Email Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
View from Group camp site at two harbors campground. About a 5 minute walk from town.
What are the various costs I might expect for this three day adventure?
On top of your race entry fee here are some things to possibly account for:
- Accommodation in Two Harbors
- Escort Boat Fee
- Transportation to the Island (i.e. Catalina Express)
- Food for Friday, Saturday breakfast and lunch, Race day snacks and hydration
- Luggage transport from the island (if needed)
Why did Puakea Designs decide to put on such a race?
We just really wanted to bring that end of season race back to the SoCal Winter Season! For those who have been racing in the SoCal Ocean Racing series for awhile, they might remember the end of season Catalina Relay that went from Avalon to Dana. If you had a chance to race that race, you know it was a blast, especially when conditions were in the paddler’s favor. It has been a few years since we have had that final end of season race that everyone works toward all winter or helps them prepare for any Hawaii races they go do in the following months, like M2M or Solo. So we brought it back with some new locations to keep things interesting and we hope it turns out to be just as fun as the original Catalina Relay. Who doesn’t love a good relay race?
Paddle Craft Storage Area, a short walk up from the beach launch site.
Check out our skit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D_rj5lE6MY
For Context: Great White Buffalo Clip from Hot Tube Time Machine
What important dates are there?
March 1st is the last day to register.
March 29-31st - Race retreat Weekend
March 29-30th - Join us in Two Harbors, Catalina for all the pre-race events and check-in for the race.
March 31st - Race Day and After Party at Newport Dunes.Am I allowed to race it solo? (some of us are cray-cray after all)
In 2019 we have added a solo division for OC1. That said, escort boat is still required.
Do I have to have a support boat? If so why?
Yes! This is mainly for safety and switching relay team members - dry changes are preferred at this time of year. As much as we would like each team have their own escort boat for safety, we know this is the hardest part of the race. We are allowing for some teams to share escort boats... IF they are in the same craft/division and are at a similar paddling level. We will not allow teams to share an escort boat if one team is SUP and the other team is Surfski, for various reasons. We would need to approve any shared escort boats. We will have additional safety boats on the course for emergency purposes. Email Kelly at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Race Day launch site, also were we will have any on water clinics like PaddleCalifornia Surfski clinic on Friday.
What will the food be like?
We will be providing the following with race entry:
- Coffee on Saturday am
- Pasta Dinner on Saturday night
- After Party on Sunday (with various alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to choose from)
- Sierra Nevada is our beer sponsor for the weekend and Lululemon Happy Hour will have Margaritas (for those 21 and over)
- Water will be available all weekend long
How do I get my craft and gear there and back?
Craft: Currently our safety boats are full for canoe transport. Please reach out to your escort boat captain on canoe transport. If they are unable to transport your canoe please reach out to other teams and paddlers personally or online in our FB Group. If these options do not produce any results please email Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can work on helping you find transportation for your canoe.
Luggage/Gear can get there or back - on the express, your escort boat or our luggage boat. We are offering sign up for gear transport at a small additional fee. Email Kelly at email@example.com to sign up.
How many miles is the race?
41 miles (66 km) - Two Harbors, Catalina to Newport Aquatic Center, Newport Beach, CA
Are there chase boats available? How do I get one?
We are helping match those who are registered with an escort boat, email Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. We could always use more contacts for escort boats so if you or a friend are interested in being an escort boat driver for the race, please email Kelly at email@example.com.
Another great resource is your club. Your club, has contacts for escort boats for 9-man season that might be wanting to join us for the weekend!
Do I have to race to go?
For those who are not interested in racing but still want to join us for the after party we will have non-racer tickets available for purchase there!
So there ya have it folks! We may have missed a question or two, and if that is the case reach out to the emails above, or list it in the comments below so we can get an answer for you. Thanks for reading. We hope to hear great stories from you about this race. And always interested in sharing them should you want to be a Team Writer.